The Dallas Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott after seven seasons, cutting ties with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft in favor of cap space. As Elliott hits the open market, there already seems to be interest in the 6-foot running back.
NFL teams know what Elliott is at this point in his career. Once one of the highest-paid NFL players, a seven-year run as the Cowboys’ featured running back took a toll on his body. Elliott is no longer an explosive runner, a shell of his former self entering his age-28 season.
- Ezekiel Elliott stats (2022): 876 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns, 3.8 yards per carry
Despite the decline in athleticism and a belief around the league that he’ll have to settle for a league minimum contract, there is reportedly a market for Elliott with at least one Super Bowl contender interested.
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NFL agents told Heavy.com’s Matt Lombardo that the Buffalo Bills are the team to really watch out for to sign Elliott this offseason. The sentiment comes within days of Buffalo publicly suggesting that a player like Elliott is what they want.
Speaking to reports this week, Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane said he plans to add another running back to the roster and is targeting a heavier player with a power running style.
- Ezekiel Elliott career stats: 8,262 rushing yards, 68 rushing touchdowns, 4.4 yards per carry
The Bills’ depth chart at running back explains why Beane wants a heavier running back. Before the 2023 NFL Draft, James Cook (190 pounds) and Nyheim Hines (198 pounds) are the only running backs on Buffao’s roster. Given the Bills used Hines as a returner after acquiring him, he doesn’t project to be a big piece of their offense next season.
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Elliott could play an important role in Buffalo’s offense. He finished with the third-most carries (16) inside the 5-yard line last season turning those opportunities into nine touchdowns. Among players with 20-plus carries inside the 10-yard line, Elliott finished sixth in rushing yards.
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Just as important for the Bills, Elliott is still one of the best pass-blocking running backs in the NFL. Considering Buffalo’s offensive line isn’t one of its strengths, Elliott would check off another box that could make him the perfect target for a team with limited cap space.